As I’m sure we’re all aware now, Catfish & The Bottlemen’s debut album ‘The Balcony’ was officially released on Monday (despite an internet leak the preceding Friday) to a – for the most part – unsurprising level of acclaim due to the already widespread buzz around the band. In order to celebrate and further showcase their record, the band hosted two rather low-key events in Manchester: at the city’s XFM radio station and the Arndale Centre’s HMV store. I had the extreme pleasure (though not without an extensive amount of standing and waiting in-line) of attending the latter along with around a hundred & fifty other dedicated fans, some of which had travelled a sizeable distance.
For those who’ve been to previous in-store gigs & signings of other artists around the country, I’m sure you know how it works. But for those who don’t: in order to attend an event such as yesterday’s at HMV, you always need to have a copy of at least one of the band’s records to be allowed entry to the live performance and proceeding signing. This did end up deterring the more opportunistic attendees while also causing the store to sell out of ‘The Balcony’ quite rapidly due to the number of fans who’d either failed to bring along their copy, or simply hadn’t bought one yet.
Now on to the main event, the acoustic set from the one and only (Ludwig) Van McCann. From the off, the crowd were given complete control of the setlist – merely having to shout out what should be played next. Ultimately, the usual suspects and clear favourites were all heard, with a couple that were less expected.
During his acoustic rendition of ‘Homesick’, Van jokingly complained ‘why’d you make me do this one, it just sounds weird’, while also revealing that this would be the first time he’d played ‘Business’ acoustic in front of a live audience – referring to it as a ‘HMV exclusive’.
The be all and end all of it is: for anyone who was able to make the trip down, however near or far, it will have been a thoroughly enjoyable experience capped off by meeting the four playing members of the band and even Larry.
Words by Alex G